MEIS Presents! The Making Of Sects: Boundary making and the sectarianization of the Syrian uprising, 2011–2013

MEIS Presents!  The Making Of Sects: Boundary making and the sectarianization of the Syrian uprising, 2011–2013
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Cosponsored by: Arab Studies Institute, Schar School, Global Affairs, Center for Global Islamic Studies, Department of History and Art History

Wednesday April 6th, 2022

2:30 pm EST

7:30 pm London

9:30 pm Damascus

Basileus Zeno

How has the social movement in Syria come to be so dramatically and so quickly transformed from, first, peaceful protests centered around popular demands for political reforms, to the broadly national movement calling for ‘Revolution for all Syrians’, and then to the ongoing bloody civil war with an increasing visibility of sectarian and militarized discourses? How did regional policies shape the dominant narratives about the uprising? What dynamics facilitated the confluence of bottom-up (local and grassroots level) and top-down (supralocal and elite level) sectarian narratives and violence?

This talk will discuss the main factors that contributed to the increasing visibility of sectarian frameworks and the demobilization of non-sectarian actors in the context of the Syrian Uprising and the subsequent conflict.


Moderated by:

Bassam Haddad


Basileus Zeno is Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in Political Science at Amherst College. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2021. He also holds a Master's degree in Political Science from Ohio University, and a Master's degree in Classical and Islamic Archaeology from Damascus University. Basileus is firmly committed to public engagement and applied research. His writing has been published in academic as well as public-facing outlets, including Nations and Nationalism, Digest of Middle East Studies, the Middle East Law and Governance Journal, The Washington Post, Jadaliyya, and SyriaUntold. Basileus is a MESA Global Academy Fellow and part of the LSE research project “Legitimacy and citizenship in the Arab world,” and has served as a consultant at organizations such as the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program and The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA). He is a co-editor of the Syria Page at Jadaliyya, and a co-founding member of Security in Context.




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